Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Year in Review

Thanks to Julie and Liz I have to fill this out again this year. So here goes my 2009 year in review!

What did you do in 2009 that you'd never done before?
Had a child live with me for the summer.

Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't really make resolutions, I work on goals.

Did anyone close to you give birth?
A few friends.

Did anyone close to you die?
No one really close to me, but my BFF lost her dear grandmother and I loved her dearly. My cousin however just lost her son yesterday morning. I didn't know him because they live so far away, but from what I understand he was a wonderful young man.

What countries did you spend time in this year?
Mexico and USA

What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A better job.
A better understanding of myself.
And a ring for goodness sake. LOL

What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 9th - LW and I celebrated one year of dating with a trip to Mexico.
June 6th - the day LW told me that Kassidy would be staying all summer with us.

What was your biggest achievement(s) of the year?
Learning how to parent someone else's child. It's such a tough job.

Being offered a position at work to lead the testing integration of an application. Beyond thrilled to be the lead for this project.

What was your biggest failure?
Letting myself go in the weight department.

Did you suffer any serious injury or illness?
Besides coming home from Mexico with Montazuma's Revenge, I can't think of anything.

What was the best thing you bought?
Stuff for the girls. Nothing makes me happier than buying stuff for Kassidy and Lauren.

For me personally, probably my Cricut.

Whose behaviour merited celebration?
I'd have to say LW. He has been so supportive and we have talked through everything together. I think he realizes just how much I do for him and the girls and how much I truly love the three of them. They are my world.

Whose behaviour made you appalled and/or depressed?
It makes me sad that my family, who all said they would stop smoking after my mom died, are still smoking. I wish they would quit.

Where did most of your money go?
Kassidy and Lauren! I'd buy anything for those girls. And crafting supplies!

Compared to this time last year, are you,
a) happier or sadder? The last part of the year was hard for me since I have to accept that I will be having a hysterectomy, but for the most part I was a happy girl.

b) thinner or fatter? Fatter. And I have no one to blame but myself.

c) richer or poorer? Neither rich nor poor.

What did you get really, really excited about?
Going on vacation with the family to Disney. There is something so special about seeing a 10 year olds eyes light up when they cross the gates into the Disney compound.

What do you wish you'd done more of?
I wish I would have gotten better at using my Nikon D40. I feel like I didn't spend enough time learning the tricks of using the camera.

Did you fall in love in 2009?
I fell deeper into love with LW. He's my world.

How many one-night stands?
LMAO um ya nope.

Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I have zero hate for people. There is one person who I dislike, but I don't hate people.

What was the best book you read?
The Twillight Series!

What did you want and not get?
An engagement ring. I still got time right? LOL

What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was stuck at work late working on a production problem, but then after that, LW took me to dinner at the Ocean Club. Then he slide a tiny blue box across the table. A beautiful pair of Tiffany earrings were inside.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Winning the lottery and spending it on family and friends!

Who did you miss?
My mom. It stinks that she will never meet LW.

Who was the best new person you met?
Amy - she makes me want to craft!

Tell us a valuable life lesson(s) you learned in 2009.
Life is about lessons. You must learn from them. Patience is key. Also never ever respond to an email that makes you angry. Walk away. Then write a response. LOL

What sums up this year? (a word, a quote... ?)
Happiness straight ahead.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas 2009

So here we have it. My Christmas post. I'm slightly behind as I have been sick this past week. Wish I was closer to being on the mend, but I'm not. Hopefully by tomorrow I will be.

The Monday before Christmas I attended a cookie exchange. Below are the goodies that were shared. There were a lot of wonderful cookies. And I hate to say it, we still have left overs!



Next we had Christmas Eve at my niece's house. We had a wonderful time. Kassidy was unable to be with us for the party, but she did stay Christmas Eve at our house.



Of course on Christmas Eve we always get new PJ's. LW's were so funny. Not sure how well you can see them, but on his PJ bottoms are snowmen that are officials. Of course they are football officials, but none the less...they are officials! Kass and I couldn't resist.





Finally we have Christmas morning. Miss Kassidy didn't wake us up until after 7am. Talk about being in shock. She insisted that she would be waking us up at 5am! She told me she was up at 5am, but didn't wake us up. If I was her age, I would have been done opening my presents by 7am. We had such a fun time. I have never done the whole Christmas/Santa thing with kids before. It was tiring, but so worth it to see her face. I know this is her last year to believe, but I will never stop leaving surprises from Santa for the girls.

In one of the pictures below you will see Kassidy doing her iPod dance. That child was so thrilled to get an iPod for Christmas. It's always so much fun watching her get excited...and appreciate all that we do for her. That's the best gift ever.






For those wondering, NO LW did not propose. But that's okay he got me the two best gifts that I was dying for....black Ugg boots and a James Patterson book, "I, Alex Cross." And of course he threw in a beautiful diamond necklace. Imagine my face when I saw "he went to Jareds." I did have the best Christmas ever.

I will close with our family picture. Last year was our first Christmas together so I took a picture of all three of us together. I decided to make it an annual tradition. It's so fun to watch how we have changed. Especially Kassidy who is growing into such a beautiful young lady. I am so blessed!

Of course I can't forget our two furry family members...Boots and Boomer.





Happy New Year my friends. I'll see you in the new year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Two years ago today...

I lost my Mom to lung cancer. It was a short battle for her as she was diagnosed early September, had surgery to remove part of her lung in October, and died in December.

It's been a long journey for my family. We have grown closer over the last two years. When my Mom died my oldest sister and I were not speaking (it has been 4 years since we last spoke). Now my oldest sister and I are spending more time together...not like we use to, but enough to feel good about it.

The grandkids all got older and every time I'm with them they talk about grandma, so it's nice to see that she will never be forgotten.

When my Mom passed I was single. Losing your parent is tough, losing your parent when you have no one to go home to to hold you and cry with you and tell you every thing will be okay, was down right depressing. I will never forget leaving the hospital after she has died. When I got home I walked into an empty, quiet, dark house. I laid on the couch for a bit crying, wishing for just one second I could have someone there to make it all better. And then, just as quickly as the tears came on, the anger took over and I tore down every last Christmas decoration I had put up, and hauled my fake tree to the curb, vowing to never celebrate another Christmas.

Last year, our first Christmas without her, was difficult and it's only because of LW that I put up a Christmas tree or any decorations at all. He said I needed to do this for us...for our family...for Kassidy...for my Mom. So this year it was easier to put up the Christmas tree and decorations for I had something positive in my life. I had LW, Kassidy and Lauren. I had a reason to celebrate. And there on my tree this year is an angel ornament that LW got for me. It's to represent my Mom and all she means to me. So every Christmas she will be with me.

The time will get easier I suppose. But today I'm allowed to grieve her loss. She meant more to me then she will probably ever know.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

So very sick.....

I'm too tired to write a big post about being sick, seeing friends this weekend and about the holidays. I hope I can get to it this week if I start feeling better.

My cold started in my head yesterday and has caused lots of issues with focus, my eye sight and headaches. I'm in so much pain and my face is swollen (right side). I thought I was getting better until I got up to put a load of laundry in. I'm now heading back to bed as I can't concentrate.

I hope everyone had a great holiday. Ours was fantastic and I can't wait to share.

I promise to get to everyone's blogs this week. For now I need to rest.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cookie Exchange

Tonight I have a cookie exchange with 11 other girls. I'm so excited to taste their creations and just hang out with my girls. The guys will also be doing a beer exchange, which is funny when I look back. I told LW he had to bring 1 six pack of beer for every guy attending. Can you imagine bringing 11 six packs of beer to a party and going home with 11 six packs? Oy. Turns out, he has to bring 1 bottle of beer for every guy. Now that sounds better!!

My cookies leave much to be desired. I had perfect intentions and failed miserably. The instructions said that the dough makes 3 dozen cookies. So I doubled the recipe twice so I would have 12 dozen. Not too bad. When all was said and done I had 8 dozen cookies!!! :( I must have made some cookies far too big. I know some cookies bit the dust early on as these are very fragile cookies (peppermint candy canes).

Thankfully earlier I made white/milk chocolate chip cookies, so when I bagged my cookies for the exchange I bagged some candy cane cookies and some white/milk chocolate chip cookies. I suppose it's the thtought that counts, but boy did I royally screw up! Next year I'm going to stick with easy, less time consuming cookies. My hands hurt from scooping and twisting dough all morning.

At any rate, I can't wait to come home with 11 dozen cookies to share with my family this holiday.

However I just may steal LW's beer. I could use a drink right now!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Christmas Fun

We are beyond happy that Kassidy is spending the night with us on Christmas Eve. LW has always reserved Christmas Eve for Kassidy to be with her Mom and her Mom’s family on that day. So Christmas morning (very early) he would go pick up Kassidy and spend the day with her.

Well this year, Kassidy asked me if she could spend the night on Christmas Eve. The giddy little girl inside of me wanted to scream “YES!” But I told her she would have to discuss this with her mom and dad. She never talked to LW about it (I did and he was beyond happy) but apparently we found out she talked to her mom about it. Kassidy’s mom has NO problem with her staying at our house Christmas Eve but we have to pick her up after the festivities are over as Kassidy’s mom’s mom’s house…ha!

A little part of me cried when I found this out. The one thing I always wanted to be was a mom. I always wanted to put cookies out, always wanted to put the little one to bed and then sneak their presents downstairs and fill their stocking. It makes me beyond gleeful to know that I will be able to do this this year. While Kassidy does not believe in Santa, we have taught her to believe in the spirit of Christmas.

I can’t wait to put her to bed on Christmas Eve after our traditional evening of drinking hot coca or wine and watching “Christmas Vacation” lounging in our new Christmas pjs. I can’t wait to carry all of her presents downstairs from their super secret hiding spot and stack them so she’ll seem them first thing in the morning and fill her stocking to the very tip top.

I wouldn’t care if she was 10 or 20, I just can’t wait to see her face on Christmas morning. I have worked so hard to make this Christmas special for both of the girls. While Lauren can’t be with us, I made sure to spoil her rotten with a nice size package that will make it to her house just in time for Christmas Eve. Lauren even has her own stocking filled to the top with fun, silly, girlie stuff.

God had other plans for me in the mommy department. And it’s amazing. Every day I thank him for the family he gave me.

That is the best Christmas present hands down.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2010 Goals

2010 is going to be full of change. I’ve decided to spend 12 months hunkering down on my finances and putting my physical health first.

My top 10 list of things I am truly going to try to attempt are:

1. Train to run a half marathon (race to be held in October 2012 – but wanting to shoot for October 2011). I’m going for distance, not time.

2. I’m going to have my nails removed. It’s an expense that is not needed. I love them but quite honestly I am too hard on them and I really just don’t have the time for maintaining them at the moment.

3. Take one vacation instead of two. I’m blessed that I can afford more than one vacation a year, but this coming year we decided to do a family vacation to Arizona for a week and a half to see LW’s daughter graduate. We’ll do some weekend get-a-ways but if we want to head to Paris in 2011 we must not dip into the savings for additional vacation fun next year.

4. Spend more time crafting gifts and cards. My goal is to make every birthday, anniversary, get well, sympathy, holiday card next year.

5. Take more classes to work towards my second bachelors degree. I have one down, 7 to go!

6. Not purchase a single pair of pants/shorts/capris (other than PJs – a secret obsession of mine) until I have lost at least 8-10 pounds. Weigh in day, January 2nd.

7. Spend more time in the gym with the weights.

8. Pack my lunch every day but once/twice in a month (we have team lunches or birthday lunches at least once a month). I’m pretty good at this now, but I want to see if I can cut back even more. Not only is it easy on the wallet, it’s good for your health!

9. Not purchase a new car! I want one so bad I can taste it. I have 15 months left to pay on my car and my goal is to get it paid off and drive it for 6/8 months after that. This is really hard for me because I have had my car for awhile and I so badly want a new one, but LW is teaching me the art of paying off a car and reaping the financial benefit. He’s so right! I can see dollar signs.

10. Track my spending. I use Quicken at home but I don’t pay attention to where the money is going. I’m saving, but not nearly enough. I can do better, so my goal is to double what I’m saving now and find a better way to make ‘do’ with what I have. If I did this for one year, think of the possibilities! I have a spreadsheet built and ready to be used starting in January. I have already listed my expenses vs my income vs my savings. I clearly see some change is needed!

So to track my goals, I plan to do a blog update at the end of every month. I am going to become accountable and find better ways of managing my money and managing my health. It’s not about being skinny, but being healthy.

January 2nd I will do a financial and physical weigh in.

Then it’s all up to me to make the necessary changes. I know I can do this. It’s what is truly best for me.

What are your goals/plans for 2010?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Missing Piece

I’m so lucky. I obviously don’t have children of my own, but LW has the greatest daughters. I talk about Kassidy all of the time, only because she’s here with us in Ohio. But Lauren, who lives in Arizona, hasn’t been home since LW and I had gotten serious. He’s been making the trips to Arizona to see her. So I have never physically met her.

But last night she texted me to talk about Christmas and the very last text from her made me cry. It said: “I appreciate it all. I was just telling Craig how awesome you are because you haven’t even met me yet and you treat me so well and you take care of me and you are here when I need to talk. It’s just so wonderful. Thanks Ms. Danica a lot.”

She’s dying to get me something for Christmas and I keep telling her to save her money for college (she graduates in May) and that all I need is to know she appreciates how much I love her. Those few words meant the world to me. She’s such a beautiful, smart young woman. She means so much to me. And I only wish that all four of us could be together all of the time. I know soon she’s going to grow into her own family, but I hope she never forgets us. I can’t wait to be a mother to those girls (and a grandmother some day!). While I wish I had my own children, LW has given me the most amazing gift…a family.

I am truly blessed!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Parties

This weekend is the start of several Christmas parties I'll be attending. I'm so excited to see old friends, meet new friends, and have just an all around great time.

Tonight I start off at a party with my local chat board girls. I'm so excited and so appreciative that Erin is opening her home to a gaggle of girls. Should be a fantastic time. Some of the girls attending have become such wonderful, special friends to me. I love them all dearly! I'm also looking forward to meeting new friends.

Tomorrow my neighbor is having her 2nd Annual James Christmas Bash. LW will not be able to join Kassidy and I as he will be in PA officiating a college basketball game. Kassidy and I will still have a great time though. All of the neighbor kids just adore her. It melts my heart to see Riley, who is 5, come running up to Kassidy for hugs every time she sees her. That's what Christmas is about...friends, family, love, respect, laughter.

Next week my team and I will be delivering goodies to our two adopt-a-families. We all worked so hard to pull off this event. Prior to the event though, our team is having our annual holiday pot-luck. I'm looking forward to mingling with my co-workers and spreading cheer to our adopt-a-families. I love the spirit of Christmas.

There are more parties to come and I'm sure I'll tell you all about them.

The days are drawing closer to the second year without my Mom. December 29th is the anniversary of her passing. It won't be an easy day, but in my heart I know she's in a better place. My sister saved the wreath I laid on her grave last year from us kids. I'm so happy she did so that every year we can go back and lay that very same wreath on her grave. This year though, my great-niece (yes I have a niece who has a daughter) and sister (her granddaughter is my great-niece) added additional decorations to the wreath and placed it on my Mom's grave the week after Thanksgiving. I'm anxious to see how it turned out. They took pine cones from my Mom's old tree in her back yard. This year the wreath will have an extra special touch. I love it.

In the spirit of the holidays I hope everyone takes time to remember those that are serving our country (my sister's step son is overseas in Iraq) and can't be with their families. I also hope we take time to give to those in need.....time, money, prayers, laughter, support, whatever you can do.

Happy Holiday Season friends!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Cards

This year I decided to hand make 61 Christmas cards. While I have done this in the past, this year I put a little more effort into them. Essentially I got serious!

So below are some of my favoites that I made. Some are one of a kind, some are out of a set of four I made at a craft meeting, and some I threw together, hated, but figured what the hell. I made it so I'll send it. At least I tried.

Happy Holidays!









Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Stocking Give Away!

A blogging buddy of mine, Tammy, is giving away a beautifully hand made stocking. If you would like to enter to win, please click on the link below:

CLICK ME

Tammy I'd love to add your button to my blog but for some reason it's blocked and I can't pull it down. It couldn't be because I am at work doing this, now could it?! :)

At any rate folks, pass this on. Tammy is a sweet, loving, kind person. You'll enjoy getting to know her.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Lauren

Lauren is LW's oldest daughter. This past week while he was in Arizona he shot some beautiful pictures of her. I am so blessed to have such a beautiful family. Lauren is a sweet, loving and kind girl. While I've never met her in person we have spoken on the phone, through text messages and through the Internet. She's a wonderfully talented young lady and I look forward to watching her grow up.

The young man in the picture is Lauren's boyfriend. LW seems very fond of him, so I hope he stinks around. :)

The other two girls with Lauren are her friends who were in the dance recital with her. Lauren dances to jazz and modern. LW said she did a fantastic job. He was so proud of her! She is also on her high school varsity basketball team. And we all know LW is happy about that!





Wednesday, December 2, 2009

LW is in Arizona for a few days.

Is it sad that I'm excited about that? :-) I love him and love spending time with him, but I have a lot of shopping to get done and cards to finish making, so I think it works out. I can stay up and out late as he won't be home until Saturday night. I always feel guilty doing my crafty stuff at home when he's home. I love spending time with him snuggling. But it will all be fine and I'll get my stuff accomplished while he's gone and he'll get some good ole quality time with his oldest daughter.

I miss him already though.

He's headed to see his oldest daughter compete in a dance competition. I made him take the camera so he can come home with lots of good pictures for me to share. I'm sad I couldn't go but I think it will be nice for him to spend some alone time with his daughter. I'm so excited for her though and wish I could watch her compete. Wish her luck!

Over the weekend Kassidy made Lauren a card and a pair of earrings to wish her good luck. It's so cute. I wish I could have snapped a picture of the card before she signed it, but oh well. I do have a picture of the earrings and will share those as soon as LW gets home (their on the camera!).

Here's to my first night alone...woot woot.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Kassidy makes me laugh!

That child is so funny. I swear if you knew us you would think she was my daughter. She has the same thoughts and feelings as me and she also has the same tender heart...always thinking of others. I can only hope that I am some kind of positive influence in her life.

But last night she called my cell phone (which LW never gave her my number so I can only guess that she got my cell phone number from Lauren - her sister) to ask me when my birthday is. She said she is doing a project for school. Really? She wanted to include me? That made me feel so good. Like we really were a family. Then no more than two minutes later she calls me back to ask me when Boots and Boomer's birthday's are. I could not stop laughing. She was so cute. She couldn't understand that I didn't know the days they were born, only the months and years. HA! She just loves 'her cats' as she likes to call them. She reminds me every time we have her how they are her cats. Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

I love being a family. I'm sad I can't have my own, but I'm grateful to have Kassidy and Lauren. Both of them remind me just how special life really is. I have so much to be happy about.

Life is good!